Where do you start when remodeling a house?

couple looking at paint swatches while remodeling

Kicking Things Off

During a year of quarantine, homeowners discovered that being at home 24/7, they needed an improved layout in their home. Maybe the kids have gotten older since they bought their home, or maybe the kids had kids and bought their own house. Either way, interior remodeling has become a priority for many. 

What home improvements should be done first?

When it comes to home improvements, remodeling, and renovating your home, the initial question is usually, “What room do we tackle first?”. The answer to that is going to depend on the condition of your home and what room you use the most – usually, this is the one that needs updating. 

After a year or more at home for health safety, most homeowners realized the kitchen was the main room for everyone. It probably had been all along, but staying indoors 24/7, it ‘hit home’ that this was THE room to take care of. Kitchen remodels will also yield you up to 70% ROI if you decide to sell later. If you aren’t sure how to begin, start with the flooring and work your way up. 

How much should I budget for home remodeling?

For a good ROI on any interior remodeling project, never spend over 15 percent of the home’s value on any one room. If you spend any more than that, the proportion of the value will be unbalanced. 

For example, with a home value of $100,000, a kitchen interior remodel shouldn’t cost more than $15,000. So, with that in mind, what adds the most value to a house with a kitchen remodel? Think smart with your kitchen. For an upscale interior remodeling that includes mid-range appliances, you could see a minimum ROI of 58% when you place the house up for sale. Mid-range appliances in a minor kitchen upgrade can give you up to 76% ROI.

Areas to focus on with the kitchen are: 

  • Reface and resurface the cabinets – this is cheaper than buying all new, but does require more work.
  • Update the countertops – you can replace them or use any of the methods online for updating what is there with special paints and finishes.
  • Update with a modern tile backsplash.
  • Invest in new mid-range appliances.
  • Update the light fixtures. 
  • Replace the kitchen sink and faucet.

What are some tips for remodeling your home?

Busting the budget with an interior remodeling job is easy if you’re not careful. Whatever you determine to be your budget, add 20% for surprises.  The following home remodeling checklist has some tips that will help you stay on or under budget: 

1. Efficiency over Size: To get the most value for the least amount of money, reorganize and equip the kitchen for maximum usefulness instead of spending money on knocking out walls. Replace the shelving that hogs up space with pullout drawers that contain canned good racks. This will give you at least three horizontal planes instead of just one. 

2. Natural Light vs Adding Windows: Instead of cutting a hole to add windows, install a light tube instead. This is less expensive, less invasive, and will funnel sunshine down into your house. 

3. Go With Recycled Materials: There are big savings that go along with shopping at resale shops. You can find everything from building materials to lightly used fixtures and furniture. 

4. Donate Your Stuff: As you start your interior remodeling project, set aside your disregards and call the local Habitat for Humanity to come and collect the stuff. Not only will you keep more stuff out of the landfills, but there are tax credits available for donated items. 

5. Do the Demo: If you’re going to have a contractor doing the work, do your own demo and save that money! However, be careful with the electrical, gas, and plumbing. This is making sweat equity valuable!

6. Long-Term Costs vs Short-Term Gains: If you can buy pre-painted or pre-primed materials, spend the extra money there and you’ll save in the long run by not having to repaint later. 

7. Ask the Contractor For Sources: Don’t be shy about asking your subcontractor for any odds and ends they have leftover. Why pay for new material if they have enough stock to do the job in something that matches your ideas? The same is true with paints at home improvement stores. Check for mis-mixed paint and you could find a shade of yellow close to what you have in mind for cheaper.

What should you not do when remodeling a house?

Here are the top things that professionals and homeowners that have been there and done it recommend: 

  1. Don’t set an unrealistic budget, add that 20% though.
  2. Keep the original architectural style in mind and complement it with the new. 
  3. Don’t sacrifice the function of a room, electrical outlets, windows, doors, etc. 
  4. Trends come and go; be smart with your money for the long term.
  5. New appliances need to be your first purchase in the kitchen and then work around them.
  6. Be sure to order extra flooring. 
  7. Safety first, appearance second.

Are permits required for interior remodeling?

Yes, the State of Texas requires permits for demolition, new construction, or any structural alterations to an existing structure. This includes interior remodeling, exterior remodeling, and any electrical, mechanical, or plumbing work.

Are home remodeling costs tax-deductible?

No, personal interior remodeling or exterior improvements are not a federal tax deduction. The improvements and interior remodeling can add to the tax base, however. That will reduce any capital gain if you sell your home. 

blueprints, paint brushes, and paint swatches

Concluding With A Clarification

What is the difference between remodeling and renovating a house? Renovate and remodel are frequently used in the same context, but they are different. An interior renovation is when the existing home is restored to its original condition. Interior remodeling is making changes to the original by creating new elements within the space.